Mastering Craigslist: The Ultimate Guide to Craigslist Domination

guide to craigslistSo that guy a few cubicles over keeps talking about his most recent score on Craigslist. He was able to get a set of vintage pink beanie babies that normally sell for thousands of dollars all for the sweet price of $1.50. As you roll your eyes and stare back at the excel spreadsheet you've been slaving away on to impress your boss, your mind starts to wander. What if he really was telling the truth? What if you really can get cool stuff for cheap on this “Craigslist”? Who is Craig and why does he have a list of stuff on the internet? Your intrigued…You go over to his cube with the ruse of a work related question, slyly trying to work your questions about buying on craigslist into the conversation.  He doesn't buy it. With a snide remark he dismisses your questions and goes back to fondling his newly acquired purchase. Dejected, you slink away back to your cubicle still pondering about how to master Craigslist and get your own cheap treasure…

Well fear not internet reader! We here at Money and Potatoes have put together a guide to master Craigslist just for you.

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Mastering Craigslist: 15 Tips for Buying on Craigslist

buying on craigslistThis article is all about buying on Craigslist. It takes skill, luck, perseverance, and a quick finger on the mouse to master the art of buying Craigslist items. It often takes newcomers years before they move on from novice Craigslister to Master buyer…

Ok, that’s a lie.

Even though I've been talking this up to sound really hard and dramatic, it’s actually pretty easy. You just need to learn some basics and then you’ll be on your way. I've compiled a bunch of tips that I think will be useful in making your interactions go smoother and get you off to a great start.

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Mastering Craigslist: 16 Tips for Selling on Craigslist

Selling on CraigslistJust as buying stuff on Craigslist takes a certain amount of skill, hard work, and luck; selling on Craigslist takes even more.  Once you master the art of selling on Craigslist however, you will become rich beyond your wildest dreams...Mwhahahahah.


Ok, this is a lie too... (For previous lie, see my article on buying on Craigslist)

Selling stuff on Craigslist, while harder than buying stuff on Craigslist, is still relatively easy. If this is your first attempt at selling things on Craigslist, which if you’re Googling “how to sell stuff on Craigslist” it probably is, don’t worry... I’ll show you most of what you need to know to get started. I say “most” because if I promised you I’d teach you “all” you needed to know I’d probably be lying. And since I've already lied in this article, I figured I wouldn't yet again betray your trust...if you had any in me to begin with.

Let’s get started shall we.

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Craigslist Finds : My First Purchase From Craigslist

I had a dilemma : Should I buy a new lawnmower, or roll the dice on a used one?

Craigslist Finds : My First Purchase From CraigslistI am a veteran of well over a thousand transactions on eBay, but before now had never purchased anything off Craigslist. Sure, I have been lurking at the freebies and other items people have been listing in the Austin area for a couple of years now but never pulled the trigger on anything. That is, until now. My lawnmower finally decided to journey to the great tool shed in the sky and I was left with a rapidly growing lawn (due to a large amount of rain in Central Texas lately) with no way to trim the grass back down to size.

I kept going back and forth between buying a new mower and getting an inexpensive used mower, but couldn’t really make a decision on which one I wanted. So, what is the easiest way to make a decision when you are undecided? Simple.  Have your spouse make the decision for you. I was at work one night when my wife emailed me a link to a lawn mower on Craigslist for sale for only $65.00.  Since it was located right down the street from where I was, I decided to give this nice fellow named Curtis a call and he told me the mower was still available. He said I could come over right then if I wanted so I used my lunch hour to go and pick the mower up.

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Mastering Craig’s List: How to Get the Most Out of Bartering

Mastering Craig’s List: How to Get the Most Out of BarteringBartering services is a great way to save money on the goods and services you need. You offer up something you no longer want or need in exchange for something you do. Or you offer up a service in which you have some expertise for another service that someone can provide – like maybe you can build a website for a landscaper who can then aerate and seed your lawn.

Bartering used to be commonplace, but it has fallen out of favor in our cash society. However, Craig’s list still has a thriving bartering community, and if you play your cards right, you might be able to get some needed items or services without spending a dime.

Be Specific in Your Ad

A lot of ads show up in the barter section of Craig’s list that say things like “Will trade 57” flat screen TV for ?” or “Have a lot of stuff to trade.” When ads are not specific, others are less likely to respond to them. They don’t know if it’s worth their while to try to trade with you unless they know 1) exactly what you have to trade and 2) exactly what you want for it.

Be specific with all items or services that you have to trade and the exact items or services you want in return. You could even get as specific as the brand names or the types of services you will offer, such as “lawn mowing” instead of “landscaping services.”

Don’t Go Too Big

No one is likely to want to trade a house with you. Or thousands of dollars’ worth of construction work. However, they might be willing to trade replacement windows for a nice riding lawn mower. Scale down your request to increase your chances of someone taking you up on the offer. Don’t go for the whole bathroom remodel. Try for new trim instead.

While you may find someone who is willing to trade on more large-scale projects, it is best to start with small, specific projects. You can always scale the project up when you meet with the person and talk about the details.

Establish Your Credentials

If you are offering to barter services, establish your credentials in your ad. Sure, you may be the best auto detailer in your state, but if the people reading your ad don’t know that, they may think you’re any Joe Schmo with a paint sprayer looking for a shortcut to a Go Kart. By including your credentials in the ad – instead of waiting until people respond – you’ll get more people contacting you about your offer. The better your credentials, the better the trade offers you may get, as well.

Meet in Person

Before you agree to any trade, make sure you meet in person to discuss the details and feel out the other person. There are a lot of scammers on Craig’s list. If you are trading goods, meet in person to check out the quality of the item and ensure it’s a good match for what you have to trade. If you are trading services, go to the person’s place of business or ask for referrals from clients.

If the trade doesn’t feel right at any time, just say no and walk away from the deal.

Put Safeguards in Place

Trading goods is a relatively straightforward process. You meet in person, and you each hand over the item being traded. Trading services is a bit more tricky. What if you cut the person’s hair, but they never give you that promised massage?

It’s important to put some safeguards in place to make sure your trade is a successful one. Meeting in person and checking credentials should ensure that you have a good feel for the person and know they are a trustworthy professional. You may then consider creating appointments, if your businesses have brick-and-mortar locations, or even exchanging gift certificates that can be cashed in for the services. You can also set up your trade so that you both begin the job at the same time – maybe you start putting together the website while the other person starts digging that koi pond.

Bartering is a great way to save money, but just like with selling, you have to approach it the right way to maximize your “profits.” Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to start turning those unwanted items in your home into treasures that you thought you couldn’t afford.


Author Bio: Trey Conway is the main content writer for Mortgage A website that helps people calculate how much home they can afford. He has been interested in mortgages and creating websites since he graduated from Appalachian State University. You can reach him anytime at his Facebook page